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“Enjoyable”

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Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Certificate of Excellence
essex
Level Contributor
137 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Enjoyable”
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We spent New Year 2013 (2 nights) at Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge. We had booked the "luxury" tents but on arrrival were told we had been allocated rooms. Initially we were disappointed as some other members of our party were already in the tents. We went to look at the rooms and were pleased to discover they were air conditioned where the tents only had a fan. With 32.5 C at 07:30 I am really pleased we had the rooms especially with a baby.

The rooms are very comfortable but I would suggest management check on cleaning and facilities. Our safe did not have a key and instructions were for a digital lock (we needed a key!). Also the hairdrier was not working and if it did the cord could not reach the plug (It was attached to the drawer of the dressing table.) There was a half eaten apple in the drawer as well. I had to request towels and complimentary toiletries and loo paper when we ran out.

The food was very good although the lunch time menu was limited and expensive for what was on offer. I was also disappointed with the fruit selection as this is pineapple/pawpaw/mango/litchie/banana country and these fruits were not on offer and they are cheap enough in the local area.

The grounds are lovely and well kept. The Hertiage Lodge is not in the game reserve. I found all the different pricings for game drives confusing and they were also expensive. We opted to drive through the Hluhluwe Game Reserve but unfortunately with all the rain and heat the animals were not easily spotted. A game drive through Zulu Nyala (which can only be done with their rangers) would have been better as they do controlled burning and so game is more easily visible.

New Years Eve dinner was great but the entertainment was appalling. The DJ hired was useless and apart from arranging some silly games there was no dancing resulting in us going back to our rooms to see the New Year in on our own.

This has the potential to be a very good Lodge - staff are very friendly and helpful (esp Pete from maintenance).

This is a relaxing place to visit. Apart from the swimming pool and the game reserves in the area there is not much else to do.

Room Tip: All room are on ground level. Some rooms have lovely lounge furniture.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank kfowl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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360 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (91)
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English first
Olney, Maryland
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Our stay at Zulu Nyala included 5 nights at the Game Lodge and one day at the Tents. I wrote a separate review of the drive to Zulu Nyala under a Game lodge and it wont let me add another one.

The rooms at the Game Lodge were fine. The three meals a day were plentiful and when we took a side trip during the day, we got a packed lunch to go.

We went in November and the weather varied from cold/rainy to mild to hot. The mild (sweatshirt/long sleeves) was the best for us. The cold/rainy was really cold during the morning/afternoon drive. You are given a heavy duty rain poncho, but it doesn't do much when you are in an open top jeep. The hot day would have been awesome if it weren't for bugs.

The drives were great and it does depend on your group and your driver. When you check in you are assign a ranger who is with you all week. he's the one to drive you to another attractions and to take you on the game drives in the morning (about 2 hr starting anytime from 6 -8am) and the afternoon (3:30-4pm). It seems groups stay assigned together during the week stay, but we weren't that fortunate. We had three different parties join us during the week.

We saw all the animals at the reserve, but we also paid to go to Phinda for a drive after we heard a group saw the Big Five in one drive. We weren't so lucky. We got closer to the animals at Zulu Nyala, but we did see two Zebra's fighting at the water hole which was pretty cool. It also seems that because Phinda is so much bigger and popular they tend to "squeeze in" ZuluNyala guests in when they have open space.

We switched to the tents for our last night. After we compared to another guests' tents our tent (number 6) was definitely much nicer and bigger than others. It has a sofa and a side table in front of the bed. The weather was great, but we heard it's a sleepless night during a windy weather. The eating area and the food was much nicer and bigger at the Game lodge. It definitely seems the Safari Lodge is oriented for the large groups, and we noticed small parties reserving tables where we never had an issue at the Game lodge.

We rented a car and drove to St.Lucia Estatuary (1.5 hrs), Hluhluwe National Park (30 min) and Cheetah Conservation (15 min).

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank bmd1277
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2012

Evening meal was sub standard for R180 pperson. Feels like we being ripped. R800 for 2 adults and 2 kiddies. Come on guys. That's just for one meal. Don't bother, tents nice but sounds like we next to railway siding at night. Zebras nice, what I thought was a dam had building rubble in it. I think these guys are in it for money first, customer last.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Andrew (Customer first) Cox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kloof
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2012

This was meant to be a fabulous break away with my brother, his wife and 2 children. The tents were very nice, no fridge to keep drinks cold and as the water not safe to drink was very difficult with children who are constantly thirsty. The buffet breakfasts and dinners were lovely, but drinks were extremely expensive. The "game drive" was a joke...at one point we came across 3 zulu men who informed us that they got a "tip off" that poachers were in the area. Our guide then proceeded to go looking for the rhino that were to be poached!!! My opinion is that we should have been taken back to the hotel for our safety..not go looking for trouble!! We went to another game park nearby and had an awesome time for a fraction of the cost and saw many animals. We wont be going back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Claire P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Provincetown, MA
Level Contributor
51 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2012

We stayed in the Heritage Safari Lodge for the first nights we were at Zulu Nyala, then up at the Game Lodge for the second half. Like most people, we bought a charity auction item and planned our trip to South Africa around this piece. We also read the reviews that said to go to the Heritage Safari Lodge first, then the Game Lodge, because as some people wrote, " you'll appreciate it more". Well, there's no need to do that, because the Game Lodge rooms are nicer. Just stay up there.

First the negatives...When we checked in, there wasn't a port around to help anyone in our group with bags, and the front desk agent didn't seem to know how to best direct us to our individual rooms. Although our room was modern and just fine in all other aspects, we did not have hot water in the shower, rather in came out in a drip. Lastly, most of the front-lines hotel staff are experienced at providing the level of customer service that most of us front US and Europe are used to. (I'll address this.)

The positives...When I brought little problems to the attention of the management, they were extremely attentive and eager to fix any problem - and they did. The staff are all very friendly and eager to serve. Also, the buffet meals were very good, both because there were many offerings at each meal, but also because of the variety of game meat at dinner. It was new to me and very interesting. Next, our ranger, William, was outstanding! He made our trip by weaving extra insight and personal stories into his guides. Can't say enough about our ranger.

TIPS...Your ranger plans your week of activities, so don't worry about not having all of your daily excursions off property planned before you arrive. Things depend on the weather and your personal interests, so don't worry.
Do see the Phinda Game Reserve though if you can. That's where see way the whole pride of lions.
Bring long sleeves and warm weather clothing for the early morning, open air rides in the vehicle to where you're going are sometimes really cold. A couple layers including a fleece should do it.
We used bug spray once when we went to on night drive, so don't bring a lot.
Get to know the people in the van ride from the airport because they may be with you all week. We were lucky because we got along great with our group and did things together all week.
Be patient with the bartender in the hotel bar if he doesn't know how to make a particular martini. They really don't do mixed drinks around there, mainly beer and wine. (Try the local beer, Castle - really good.)
Tipping...We didn't know about tipping before we got there, but this is what we were told more than once when we go there. You do not need to tip the hotel staff for every service. It is customary to leave a tip of USD$10 per hotel guest per day at the end of your visit when you check out. Tips are then distributed to the hotel staff. Also, your ranger, who is with you all week, customarily receives a gratuity of USD$100 per couple per week. (We tipped more because of our extraordinary service.)

Lastly, the last bit of advice I like to give is that this trip is the trip of a lifetime for many of us, so go with the flow when you're there. You'll get used to getting up early for your drives. You'll get over bumps in the road to perfect service. Stay in the moment and soak in the wildlife and the views and your spouse's company...and take lot's of pictures.

Room Tip: "Tent" type of rooms have heavy canvas roofs an side walls which blow in the wind at night...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
17 Thank PtownTMW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ballito, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2012

This establishement could not offer any us game drives and or any boma braais, the rooms are
very basic with no fridge facilities, the staff have no commitment to the traveller,
they did not for any alternatives to our requests and on several occasions we were just
turned away with the words unfortunately.

Management have also not responded on any of our letters and e mails, they dont come back to you with any report back, they will not see us again, we have been to several lodges in this area, this was the worst experience.

Room Tip: Go to other traveller friendly lodges in the area.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank OVERLANDER515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Missoula, Montana
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2012

We spent 3 nights in early September in a "tent". It was very comfortable with walls, electricity, toilet, all inside the tent. The food was excellent. The only complaint is that when the wind blows at night, you have to be a very sound sleeper as the tent roof flaps in the wind. We had a great time there and after 3 nights moved up to the Game Lodge on the hill. James Tembe is a great guide to have. We highly recommend him after we took the advice from someone on Trip Advisor.

Room Tip: You could stay in the hotel lodge, but it was so great to be more in tune with nature in the outdoor...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Clarisse J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge

Property: Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge
Address: 45 Bree Street Cradock 1969 | PO Box 247, Hluhluwe 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Zululand > Hluhluwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Hluhluwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Heritage Safari Lodge was originally built in the 1940’s as a hotel and was a landmark pit-stop for weary travelers between Maputo and Durban. Acquired in 1996, the gracious building was lovingly restored to its original colonial grandeur, enhanced with new accommodation, and tastefully themed to highlight Zululand’s unique cultural heritage.With buffet-style meals in our restaurant, the wide, welcoming veranda and our ‘human watering hole’ - the pub or thatched boma, warm and relaxing atmosphere is conducive to shared good times and conviviality. The sparkling pool is always inviting, and you’re sure to enjoy browsing our beautifully stocked curio shop for a few authentic African mementos. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Hotel Hluhluwe

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